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Next Big Project: Moving on out(doors)

If there’s one thing I’m known for, it’s my expert-level landscaping and outdoor decorating skills. By “expert-level,” I mean “I have no idea what I’m doing,” and by “skills,” I mean “my backyard is embarrassing.”

I wrote a post a while ago which was an eye-opening exposé into the depth of the redneck coursing through these veins. You’ll want to hop over and see how we made this inspiration photo come true in our backyard on an almost nonexistent budget:
Dream backyard becomes reality
Yep. But we LOVE to be outside and with the promise of warm weather and outdoor fun ahead, it is TIME to do something about this tragedy. So when Home Depot asked if I’d like to be involved in their Patio Challenge and use one of their furniture pieces to turn my backyard into an oasis, I was all: “UmmLetMeThinkOKAYSURE!”

Today I want to show you the plan and the inspiration, but first we’re gonna have to get past some ugly. This is what our outdoor patio looks like now:
Patio before

YEP. That is REAL.

Actually, it mostly looks more like this…

…but I cleaned it up for you because who would show such ugly pictures on their home decorating blog?

I need some help, and it’s Home Depot to the rescue! We’ll be making some big-ish updates to this outdoor space over the next couple weeks and I’ll keep you updated, but first let me show you my inspiration photos.

I’ll take one large ocean for just beyond the patio, please.

By Eric Watson via Houzz

And just one small outdoor room with a bed for snoozing. If it’s not too inconvenient. And even if it is.


Okay, just dreaming. For real, we want some outdoor dining furniture that will seat six, and that is comfy. Home Depot has some great options and we’ll talk choices soon! I want to plop it all down on a colorful outdoor rug…

via BHG

And plop that colorful rug right down on a…

via eliwies

…warm wooden DECK. Yes. We are planning to build a full deck right on top of that patio. Not sure where the time is going to come from to make that happen, but Andy and I both think a nice deck in place of that cement patio will be a huge lifestyle upgrade.

And I want to bring in some color in fun outdoor throw pillows. I’ve been eyeing this one at Cost Plus World Market:

And this one at Pier One:

Hopefully we can add some fun mood lighting, and if we can find a good option to cast some shade over that area, we’re hoping we can make that happen too.

Oh, and by the way: part of the Patio Challenge is to make this whole shebang come to life in about four tiny weeks. (TINY.)

I’ll keep you updated on the whole process. Fingers crossed we can do this thang in the time allotted!

Have you started to work on outdoor projects yet this year? Any big plans to make over your yard or patio?

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  1. I want to see the pictures so bad. But the photos aren’t loading 🙁
    Have to stop by later again to see if it was my computer or broken links.

  2. Pictures aren’t loading for me either. Can’t wait to check it out!!

  3. Oh boo. The pictures are not loading for me either, but I can’t wait to come back and check out this post!

  4. No pics for me either but I’ll be back!

  5. Oh you really didn’t want us to see the ugly 🙂

  6. I’m currently working on my igloo my backyard. You think I’m joking.

    Can’t wait to see this all come together!!!

  7. I can’t see the pictures either!

  8. Pictures are up now! The first 2 comparisons cracked me up! We had a beautiful stone patio built almost 2 years ago and I still haven’t decorated beyond that point! The outdoors are NOT my specialty so I am very excited to follow your progress!

  9. Im searching for inspirations for my pool area. This will be out 3rd summer in this home and I am just now getting around to the pool area.

  10. How exciting for you!! Since we live where it is warm 10 months out of the year, we absolutely LIVE in our backyard!! Good luck!!! Can’t wait to see it all come together!!! ~~Angela

  11. i remember dying over that post! nailed it, indeed! i can’t wait to see you work your magic again!

  12. I’ll bring the beverages and a side salad. But I can’t come over yet so it’s ok that the deck isn’t done, my driveway is snowed shut.


  13. 4 weeks?! Dang, that really is a challenge! I can’t wait to see what you guys do though. We added a couple of planters to our front porch over the weekend and it made our house feel so much homier! We have plans for our back patio/yard as well but they involve winning the lottery 😉

  14. Love the inspiration! Can’t wait to see it come together. I can tell from that first photo comparison that you can really make this inspirations come to life! haha

    Yay for partnerships with Home Depot! Good luck with this speedy revamp!

  15. Oh that is going to be so pretty. I have been reading about that Home Depot challenge on a couple of blogs. Sounds absolutely dreamy!!

    We are in full swing on our own patio. So far we have installed a new stained handrail to the deck off the master and had the whole patio cover painted. We have moved some sprinklers and made a rock bed. Next we are making our patio cover solid. Of course, I am mostly interested in getting to the decorating part. Hopefully within four weeks or less as well 🙂

    Race ya 😉 ha ha

    Can’t wait to see how yours turns out. I love the pillows you picked!!

  16. I’m pretty sure our backyard had yours beat. It was an overgrown jungle NIGHTMARE when we bought our house. Here is the proof:
    We worked very hard to transform it, and while we are no where near done, it is certainly a whole new place out there:
    I can’t wait to see what you and HD have in store for your place. I’m sure it will be amazing!! 🙂

  17. Exciting! Can’t wait to see what you come up with. Outside is hard, isn’t it? Why is that? Is it because it’s so big and open-ended? We have a deck building project on the list, too. Dave is not as excited about it as I am, though, so we’ll see.

  18. Does putting salt down on icy sidewalks count as an outdoor “project”? We just got 4 more inches of the white stuff this morning. 🙂
    I’m usually swimming in outdoor ideas but we’re planning to put our home on the market in the next couple of months so we won’t be doing much in the way of landscaping this spring.
    That top picture always cracks me up!

  19. I love all your inspiration pics and can’t wait to see you start to tackle this! Our deck is on our re-do list for this Spring/Summer too…astro-turf be gone! I’m also thinking that I need a colorful outdoor rug…they add a little something special!

  20. Love your inspiration photo!
    And yes! We are doing tons outside, but that’s mostly because our ‘house’ is a trailer home on a farm, so everything is dirt (literally everything– no grass. yet!). So my hubby tilled up the yard (probably about an acre or so– just a guess) with a tractor and a contraption behind it (called ‘disk-ing’). Now he’s putting up fence posts for a fence. And we’ve got grass seed to hopefully get a yard going before the weather gets any hotter (it’s mid 90s right now… yes, in March). And we’ve got some ground for a garden, but we haven’t planted it yet. Hubby wants to make a deck sooner or later. Love the look of a wooden deck!
    Oh, and good luck you guys!

  21. Other than pay the teenagers to bag up 84 bags of leaves and debris from our back yard (and I’m totally serious — 84!), we’ve not done a thing. Too many gray, rainy, chilly days to get motivated. Oh, and we were in the Caribbean for a week. 😉
    Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!
    xo Heidi

  22. Riversana says:

    “NAILED IT” will keep me snickering for the rest of the day! Thank you for the laughs and good luck!!

  23. I am laughing so hard right now….I wanted to know how to make that conservatory for pennies and I am scrolling down frantically for the tutorial. 🙂 LOL!!!!!! Can’t wait to see your new deck and those AMAZING pillows!

    Have a great day rock star!

  24. Oh my word, that first picture “Nailed it” had me in stitches. That’s good stuff.

    Can’t wait to see this project. Decks are totally my favorite. We’ve built a few (I use we when I mean Ryan) and I’m always amazed at what a difference they make.

    The yard is top on my list this year. Preferably before Henry’s birthday if it would just stop this blasted snowing. Right now, we’re channeling our inner-hillbillies.

  25. I can’t wait to see the “AFTER” Kelly! I know that it will look so good! Wishing you a lovely week! Angie xo

  26. This is awesome! I can’t wait to see the final results 🙂

  27. Can’t wait to see what you do for the patio challenge! I have a huge wish list for our backyard, but it is just not happening any time soon!

  28. Good luck!!! You guys are totally gonna rock it; I know the transformation will be gorgeous!

  29. When I saw your current patio photo I said “Ouch – it hurts my eyes!!” Ha I can’t wait to see the outdoor makeover 🙂 I am lucky enough to have the snow covering my backyard mess right now.

  30. Good luck with your outdoor makeover! I have been working to transform our backyard for the past 2 years! Life to the full, Melissa

  31. We just started cleaning up our yard too! Just mowing and weed eating.. (the stuff that we should have been doing.. :/ ) and then we are going to plant a garden and put some bark down in places that weeds tend to grow 🙂

  32. So fun, you can do it!
    No outside projects here…we still have 3 feet of packed snow in our back yard, no sign of our ugly deck yet….more on the way this week 🙁 Spring is late for us in New Brunswick this year!
    Will live vicariously through you

  33. Oh I can’t wait to see the transformation!!! I cannot wait to get outside in the yard and created a little oasis. The rain and cold has kept me inside but you post has inspired me to at least go buy some spring flowed for my pots!!!

  34. Lucky you! I look forward to following along as you work on completing your project. Thanks for your nice comment on my blog. Hope you will visit again!

  35. OMG you are too cute!! Love your blog! New BlogLovin follower!! Have a great week!

  36. Congrats!!! The beauty of a blank slate is, well…. it’s going to look AMAZING! Can’t wait to see!!

  37. LOL!! I was seriously in awe with that first photo… like, wow, she is AMAZING! I can’t believe they did that in their backyard…then I saw the second pic. LOL. Too funny. Well, you are still amazing, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  38. I am looking forward to the results. I am working on mine right now as well. I would love some assistance and/or thoughts or opinions. Let me know if you are willing to do so and I will start taking some pics with challenges. Thanks.

  39. Oooo! I’m so excited to see what you whip up in 4 (tiny) weeks! I know it will be fabulous…especially if those inspiration pics are any indication of what’s to come. But I know we can count on you for the HONEST TRUTH of your outdoor space makeover and that is what I look forward to even more than seeing the finished product. 🙂

  40. Sadly the only outdoor projects we’ll be working on involve snow removal … check back with me in like two months …


  41. OMG. I almost died. I looked at the first pic of the poolhouse & thought, are these people kidding me ? they re-created this on a “non-existent’ budget, puleez. Then…I saw the next pic & laughed out loud. For real ! Loved It


  1. […] In the last post, I mentioned that we have four very, very small weeks to redo our ugly patio and build a new deck. […]

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